A new lobbyists.info survey found that though most government relations professionals report spending very little time on coalition building, the strategic alliances promote more efficient, effective lobbying tactics.
Forty-seven percent of those surveyed say they spend less than one day each week on activities to support coalition building, but just under half (48.7%) reported participating in 2-5 coalitions in the last 12 months.
“[C]oalitions are a wonderful took for smaller or single-issue organizations looking to expand their audience,” says Laura Renz, Director of Government Relations & Research at Campaign Freedom.
Interest in a specific issue, followed closely by interest in a specificpolicy or piece of legislation, were by far the greatest factors considered when joining a coalition, with 87.2% and 84.6% of respondents, respectively indicating these as “very useful” factors in making the decision, and 61.5% ranking both compatibility of industry and organization type as “somewhat useful.” (Compatibility of organization type received more “very useful” ratings — 20.5% versus 17.9% for common industry.
For Campaign Freedom, all of the above were factors in the decision to join a coalition. “We had an issue come up last year that was huge for my organization that we had a lot of expertise on, but not necessarily the ability to get that information out to a broad audience,” Renz says. “Reaching out to a larger association that had an interest in the same issue but not the expertise was hugely beneficial for everything, and since then I’ve always considered coalitions to simply be getting more bang for your buck.”
An overwhelming majority (94.9%) of respondents reported that the first place they turn to recruit potential allies is personal and industry networks, and 64.1% rely on either print or electronic news sources as a primary resource for information about current and proposed coalitions. Other sources of information sought when building coalitions included electronic databases like lobbyists.info, content management software, action alerts, and targeted campaigns.
Just over half of responses (55.8%) indicated that technology is used to identify potential allies or adversaries, but an astonishing 89.5% reported technology is useful for disseminating information about their own efforts, and 84.2% reported using technologies to track legislation or issues.